Paris - Total no longer produces coal with the closing of the sale of mine operator Total Coal South Africa. Signed in summer 2014, the agreement to sell the affiliate to a local company has now been approved by the South African government, with the divestment taking effect on August 20.
On June 1, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné publicly pledged that Total would halt all coal operations. Commenting today, he said that: “It was a matter of both consistent strategy and our credibility. Faced with the issue of climate change, Total is committed to promoting the use of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, especially compared to coal, which emits twice as much greenhouse gas when used to generate power. We cannot claim to be providing solutions to climate change while continuing to produce or market coal, the fossil fuel that emits more greenhouse gas than any other. In addition to withdrawing from mining, we have also decided to divest our coal marketing operations. By end-2016, we will no longer be involved in the coal business.”
Mindful of the impact its activities have on climate change, Total is helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions by exiting coal production and by focusing daily on five core areas:
- Increasing the percentage of natural gas — the cleanest fossil fuel — in the energy mix. This energy source accounted for 50% of Total’s production in 2014.
- Developing solar energy, as the second-ranked global operator via affiliate SunPower.
- Enhancing the energy efficiency of its facilities, products and services.
- Facilitating more access to sustainable energy for as many people as possible, through Awango by Total, a social business that retails solar lamps.
- Working with others and supporting international initiatives.
The latter point was illustrated on June 1 with a call to introduce carbon pricing, alongside five other global oil and gas companies: BG Group plc, BP plc, Eni S.p.A, Royal Dutch Shell plc and Statoil ASA.